|Never dated any of them, but they were hi-larious! Suffered crying-laughing-gotta-leave-the-room jags every class.|
Browsing the magazine section at the huge FNAC in the city center last Thursday, I heard my name and turned to look right into a similar pair of gorgeous green eyes and dirty blonde hair. I hate seeing exes and prefer to think that after me, a part of them dies. Okay, that's not quite right. I like to think that they die.* Good thing this wasn't Peter the Catalan, but an equally "cutest boy in the band" type student from last semester. I gave him a big hug. Chatted with him in Spanish for the first time, genuinely happy to see him. "I was so mad at myself that I didn't get your phone number before the end of the trimester," he said. "Ieishah, I want to see you again..."
There's nothing more awkward than realizing your student has the hots for you. Like that time another suited up student asked, "Do you work out? I can see the muscles in your legs through your jeans," in front of the whole damn class. Adults get less and less teachable as the years go by. And that teachable quotient, paradoxically, drops when you add sex and emotions to it. I've even had to drop straight female students once we got too close. So how smart is it to become personally involved with students?
My TEFL course included a few sessions with a career counselor. The first session began with notes on how to write a TEFL friendly resume, and ended with the counselor telling us about how many people she knew who ended up marrying students. It was something like, "ALL of my co-workers ended up marrying former students!". If you're teaching grown ass men and women, it stands to reason that you'll encounter people worthy of your after-hours.
|Dinner with Intensive course students in '08. Another great group I never dated.|
I say go for it, within limits. Never date a current student. Even if they ask. And even if they're hella funny and cute and offer to take you on motorcycle rides through Extremadura. (Not that that happened.) Also, I'd err on the side of caution in making the first move. Students know you're in a foreign country, building your life from scratch. In my experience they don't hesitate to invite you out for a coffee, under the guise of practicing their English, of course. You may want to make a habit of offering your email to all of your students at the end of a class. This mitigates the awkwardness of singling out the hot ones. Or if you live in a city as small and intimate as Barcelona, you could just wait to run into them in a random cafe some day.
*I don't really mean die. Perhaps 'cease to exist'.